October 24, 2007: Santhera's CSO Thomas Meier Receives BioValley Award for Scientific and Entrepreneurial Merits
Santhera Pharmaceuticals (SWX:SANN), a Swiss specialty pharmaceutical company focused on neuromuscular diseases, announces today that Thomas Meier, Chief Scientific Officer of Santhera, has been honored with the prestigious BioValley Basel Award 2007 "s'Goldig Läggerli" for his contributions to the greater Basel area, his merits in advancing science in the field of neuromuscular diseases and for his successful founding of MyoContract AG, one of the two predecessor companies that in 2004 combined businesses to form today's Santhera.
At the award ceremony, Rolf Rolli, Vice President of BioValley Basel, praised Thomas Meier as an outstanding scientist and example for other ambitious researchers: "Thomas Meier was infected with the entrepreneurial virus during his postdoctoral research stay in the U. S. and has been addicted to this spirit ever since. Back in Switzerland, he founded MyoContract as the first life sciences spin-off from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. In 2004, at the creation of Santhera, he fostered a greater vision as an entrepreneur in which he became Chief Scientific Officer of the new company to focus on his main strengths, which are the scientific work and the understanding of neuromuscular biological processes."
Dr Thomas Meier, Chief Scientific Officer of Santhera and winner of the BioValley Basel Award 2007, commented: "I feel honored to receive this Award. Everyone familiar with our company knows how many people contributed to today's success. To team up with others was probably one of my first lessons learnt and a great personal experience. To this extent, the Award also goes to all who have been involved in advancing our vision since the starting years at MyoContract up to today, as new talents join us in our effort to become a leading specialty pharmaceutical company. Our shared goal is to bring effective therapies to patients - children and adults - who suffer from devastating neuromuscular diseases. "
The BioValley Basel Association created the BioValley Basel Award in 2002 with the purpose of honoring outstanding contributions to the Life Sciences in the BioValley. With the "Goldig Läggerli" award, the jury, consisting of the Board of BioValley Basel, pays tribute to persons who have had a substantial and lasting impact on Life Sciences in science, medicine, business and public policy in the greater Basel area. Previous prizewinners include the founding team of Actelion, Prof Dr Hans-Joachim Güntherodt and Prof G Schatz (University of Basel), Dr Jürg Meier (Novartis Venture Fund) and Dr h .c. Georg H. Endress (Endress+Hauser).
Biography Thomas Meier
Dr Thomas Meier (born 1962) studied biology and neurosciences at the Universities of Erlangen (Germany), Geneva and Basel (both Switzerland). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Basel in 1992. He then took a postdoctoral research position at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver/CO, US, where he studied the biochemical basis of nerve-muscle interactions. After his return to Switzerland, in 1999, Dr. Meier became an independent research group leader and lecturer at the Department of Pharmacology & Neurobiology at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. The following year he founded MyoContract AG and became CEO of this first spin-off from the Biozentrum. In 2004, he combined businesses with Heidelberg-based Graffinity Pharmaceuticals to form Santhera Pharmaceuticals.
Dr Meier has published several high-impact papers in the field of neuromuscular research during his distinguished career as an academic scientist. He won the International Research Fellowship Award from the US National Institutes of Health and has received a long-term fellowship from the Human Frontier Science Foundation.
About the Läggerli
"Läggerli" is the name of a traditional treat - a bio product - that has been produced in Basel, Switzerland, since the Middle Ages. It is believed that the hard biscuits were originally created by local spice merchants over 700 years ago. Its name derives from lecker meaning delicious in German. Läggerli are made of honey, almonds, candied peel, and Kirsch, a distilled fermented juice of small black cherry. Locals enjoy Läggerli all year round and serve the specialty on any occasions.
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Santhera Pharmaceuticals (SWX: SANN) is a Swiss specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and marketing of small-molecule pharmaceutical products for the treatment of severe neuromuscular diseases. Santhera's vision is to become a leading specialty pharmaceutical company offering therapies for a number of indications in this area of high unmet medical need which includes many orphan indications with no current therapy.
Santhera currently has five clinical-stage development programs, three of which are investigating its lead compound, SNT-MC17 (INN: idebenone), for the treatment of Friedreich's Ataxia (FRDA), Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON). Another clinical program is investigating JP-1730 (INN: fipamezole) for the treatment of Dyskinesia in Parkinson's Disease (DPD) in cooperation with Juvantia, the compound's owner. The fifth program comprises SNT-317 (INN: omigapil) in Congenital Muscular Dystrophies (CMD), a compound in-licensed from Novartis. The most advanced program, SNT-MC17 in FRDA, is currently under review for marketing approval in Europe and will be submitted shortly in Canada. The compound is also in Phase III clinical development for FRDA in the US while the other clinical programs are in Phase II. For further information, please visit www.santhera.com.
BioValley Basel is a non-profit organization with members from industry, academia and services. BioValley Basel fosters communication and networking among its members and representatives from science, economy, politics and the general public regarding Life Sciences. BioValley Basel organizes quarterly events with a Life Sciences subject and the annual "Life Sciences Week" in Basel. For more information about BioValley Basel, please visit the www.biovalley.ch web site.
For further information, contact
Thomas Staffelbach, VP Public & Investor Relations
Phone: +41 (0)61 906 89 47
Dr Christian Suter, President
Phone: +41 (0)61 302 49 47
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